Tutorial: How to Vein Leaves

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guess what gang... I think it's time for another tutorial!!! (YEAH, the crowd goes wild!) LOL 

When I think of fall cakes, I quite often think of Autumn colors like orange, red, yellow, and brown. Eating yummy cake flavors like apple, pumpkin, or spice. I picture sunflowers, pumpkins, gourds, wheat, apples, and of course... fall leaves. 

There are several different ways you can make veins in your fondant or gum paste leaves. Some ways are easier than others, some are cheaper than others, and some are much more realistic looking than others. If you're making a sophisticated cake, then you may choose something that will give you a realistic effect. If you're designing a whimsical cake, then you might want a more simple looking vein. It just depends on what effect you want to achieve. I'm going to show you how to make veins using the following items:
In many of the pictures below you'll notice that I put the fondant/gumpaste leaf cutout on top of a thin piece of pink foam. The foam acts as a cushion preventing the vein imprint from going too deep. When I make leaves, I usually thin the edges of the petals with a ball tool. In the following examples, however, I didn't bother to do this.

1) Real leaf:  Find a leaf that has very heavy or defined veins. Place the real leaf, vein side down, on top of your cut out. Press down using a cosmetic sponge. The sponge helps to give gentle and even pressure as you push.

2) Toothpick: Use gentle pressure to push down on the toothpick. Be careful not to push the pointed end too deep, it can leave small holes.

3) Veining tool:  Using the narrow end of the veining tool, drag it across the leaf leaving vein lines behind.

4) Plastic vein from a silk leaf:  Take a silk or fabric leaf and pull the plastic veins off. Place the veins on top of the cutout and gently push down with a cosmetic sponge. Since these veins are made of plastic, they're more rigid. So be careful not to push too hard.

5) Corn husk:  Corn husks are one of my favorite ways to add veins to leaves and flowers. You can find corn husks at the grocery store in the Latino food section. Take a small piece of husk and put it on top of the leaf. Push down using the cosmetic sponge. You can reposition the husk several times and push down again if you want more veins.

6) Leaf Veiner:  You can buy dozens of different leaf veiners. As a matter of fact, you can probably find a specific veiner for every leaf or flower petal out there. The sky's the limit! Place your leaf face down on top of the veiner and push down with the sponge.

7) Double sided veiner: These veiners are the most expensive, but also the most realistic type of veiner. Simply match the two halves together and push down with even pressure. Before you place the leaf cutout on the veiner, make sure to dust both sides of the form with cornstarch or powdered sugar. Dusting keeps the fondant from sticking to the form. You can see the excess powder still on the leaf in the picture below. Just use a small brush and gently brush it off. This kind of veiner leaves an imprint on both sides of the leaf. Pretty awesome!

8. Plunger cutter:  Another way to put veins in your leaves is to use a "plunger cutter". After cutting out the leaf, simply push down on the plunger to remove the fondant from the cutter. The plunger leaves the imprint of veins on the leaf. I don't own a plunger cutter, but a lot of people like using them.

Give these examples a try, experiment with different ways to vein your leaves. You may even come up with a new method that works better for you! One thing I've learned is that there's no "one way" of doing things. So never be afraid to branch out and try new ideas!

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